Verizon challenges FCC Net neutrality rules

By Laurie Segall, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Verizon filed a legal appeal on Thursday challenging the Federal Communications Commission's authority to enforce the new Net neutrality rules it adopted last month.

"We believe this assertion of authority goes well beyond any authority provided by Congress, and creates uncertainty for the communications industry, innovators, investors and consumers," Verizon senior vice president and deputy general counsel Michael E. Glover said in a written statement

On December 21, the FCC's commissioners voted three-to-two to adopt so-called "Net neutrality" rules, which would give the agency regulatory power over Internet service providers. The agency's goal is to prevent Internet providers from blocking or "unreasonably discriminating" against Web content, services or applications.

But the FCC's legal grounds for expanding its authority is shaky, and industry observers predicted that Internet providers would take the issue to court.

"Undoubtedly, there's going to be litigation against it," Rebecca Tushnet, a professor at Georgetown University who specializes in digital media, said at the time.

Enter Verizon (VZ, Fortune 500). The company was already in the thick of the Net neutrality fight after striking a backroom deal with Google (GOOG, Fortune 500) last year that it hoped would head off new FCC rules. It didn't.

The FCC has been through the legal wringer several times in its attempts to police Internet providers.

In 2007, Comcast -- the nation's largest Internet provider -- blocked its subscribers from using peer-to-peer file-sharing networks. The FCC tried to force Comcast to stop, and Comcast fought back with a lawsuit challenging the FCC's authority in the matter. In April 2010, a U.S. court of appeals ruled in Comcast's favor.

So the FCC went back to the drawing board, and adopted a new set of rules last month, based on a fresh legal theory about the scope of its powers.

Verizon isn't impressed.

"Today's filing is the result of a careful review of the FCC's order," Glover said. "We are deeply concerned by the FCC's assertion of broad authority for sweeping new regulation of broadband networks and the Internet itself."

Net neutrality advocates were quick to strike back.

Jay Schwartzman, policy director for the nonprofit advocacy group Media Access Project, accused Verizon of venue-shopping for a friendly court. Verizon, based in New York, filed its appeal in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.

"Verizon has made a blatant attempt to locate its challenge in a favorable appeals court forum," he said in a written statement. "Under this bizarre legal theory, virtually every FCC decision would wind up in one court."  To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 16,408.54 -16.31 -0.10%
Nasdaq 4,095.52 9.29 0.23%
S&P 500 1,864.85 2.54 0.14%
Treasuries 2.72 0.08 3.19%
Data as of 7:57am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 16.15 0.00 0.00%
Facebook Inc 58.94 0.00 0.00%
General Electric Co 26.56 0.00 0.00%
Cisco Systems Inc 23.19 -0.02 -0.09%
Micron Technology In... 23.91 0.00 0.00%
Data as of Apr 17
Sponsors

Sections

GM won't have to tell customers to keep their recalled cars parked until fixed, after a federal judge denied emergency motion Thursday. More

Obamacare sign ups hit 8 million, though final enrollment remains to be seen. More

Schwinn, Trek and Cannondale are all iconic American bicycle brands. But none of them are made in the United States. More

As Detroit moves closer to reaching a bankruptcy deal, retired civilian workers are poised to be left worse off than firemen and police officers. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.